First three months of the year are gone. It’s just like that and we have already reached 1/4 of the 2015. How are you doing with your plans for this year?
Goal-setting at the beginning of the year is so common. Every time when I open my laptop around that time of the year and go online, my LinkedIn, Facebook and RSS inbox are buzzing with the articles about how to set the goals for this year right.
But what happens then? Why isn’t there a monthly buzz or quarterly buzz to talk about reviewing the progress and correcting the course? I won’t search for a correct answer, I’ll just go with my assumption – it’s easy to write about goals because everyone has set some in some point in life. It’s not that easy however to write about reviewing them, because so little people do that systematically.
Funny as it is, for me it’s pretty hard to keep going, if I don’t do my reviews. I guess most of the teams and companies in business have that routine of monthly or (hopefully not) weekly check-points. If the meeting is set and done properly, it’s very useful.
Let me tell you about my Q1 review for 2015:
Before you start: how to do it?
The simplest and easiest way is to take an hour off. I’m currently at my parents place outside Bratislava, thus I took an hour out, went for the nearest restaurant that was open and sat down with a tea and coffee. The only thing I needed for this time was pen, paper and my organiser. If you’re more of an technology-organising person, you might need your laptop, but even then I don’t think it’s necessary.
First: what to review?
I listed following things:
- goals vs reality
- projects status
- things and events that I’m sad, glad and mad about in past months
- new learnings that I got
- new opportunities that I have right now
There’s other options, however this worked fine with me. It gave me overview of all important elements of current life-style.
Second: what is the process?
Simple, as suggested in part one – take your stuff, have a meeting with yourself. Keep it short and focused. Don’t squander around dreaming. This is a operational meeting, not a vision-building meeting. Finish within one hour with your 3 outcomes. Go back to normal.
Third: what is the expected outcome?
You need to KNOW HOW THINGS ARE and KNOW WHAT TO DO DIFFERENT. For that, I have three outcomes to get from the review:
- status report – how much of the goals have you completed?
- goal adjustment – if necessary, are there any goals that need to be increased, decrease, removed based on new findings?
- next-action list – if you are not keeping a list of next actions to do, start one here. If you have it, list additional things to add on it.
Four: how often and how much time will it take?
This is the most beautiful thing – the more regularly you do it, the less time it takes and more value it brings. For me this quarterly review took less then 60 minutes (actually it took 2 pomodoros). The monthly could take maximum 1 pomodoro and the weekly ones, probably something around 1/2 pomodoro.
I recommend to you to go and do your weekly, monthly and quarterly reviews regularly (and not me, then listen to any published author on time-management and effectiveness). It is one of the most effective ways to boost your performance.